The bane of modern life as we know it: the muffin top! But there is a secret weapon in the fight against belly fat: and it’s yoga! Why? The obvious reason is that of course the body and the belly become more toned in yoga as the core muscles through the torso are working intensely over a prolonged period of time. However there is actually a whole lot more to it on a biochemical level.
When we are continually stressed (whether that threat is real or perceived) our adrenal glands push out a whole cocktail of hormones to generate the fight or flight response. Our adrenal glands have not evolved to the point that they can tell whether the threat is real or just in our head. The chemical response is the same whether we are actually being chased by a real lion, or we just got a shitty email from our boss. Fight or Flight. Boom!
One of the most prevalent chemicals released by the adrenals in the fight or fight response is a steroid called cortisol. Cortisol directs the body to store fat, for the imminent bad time it thinks is coming (famine, fight to the death, escape, etc). It directs it to store it predominantly around the mid section of the body, to protect the internal organs. How sensible. And how annoying.
Where this made evolutionary sense it now is frankly, a total bummer! Who wants a muffin top, right?
This is where yoga comes in. By learning through both asana, and pranayama work (the control of the breath, which as you know is an important focus in a Positive Balance class) to reduce the stress response we can start to calm the reaction of the overburdened adrenals. This actively decreases the over production of cortisol and additional storage of fat around the midsection.
So there you have it. Scientifc fact. Yoga reduces muffin tops! Hurrah!
Check out yoga classes near you, or if you live in Auckland how about joining our last Beginners Yoga course for 2012. It starts on 23rd October and you can sign up right here.